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Alevis find saying no to Erdogan a tall task

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lavish iftar feasts during the presidential campaign are generating controversy, including a decision by the Alevi community to reject an invitation to one of the dinners.
Alevi demonstrators shout anti-goverment slogans during a protest against the latest violence in Okmeydani, a working-class district in the center of the city, in Istanbul May 25, 2014. Two people died last week after clashes between Turkish police and protesters in Okmeydani, a working-class district of Istanbul, stirring fears of further unrest as the anniversary of last year's anti-government demonstrations approaches. Okmeydani is home to a community of Alevis, a religious minority in mainly Sunni Musli

On July 21 in Ankara, the Alevi Bektasi Federation (ABF) announced that it had politely declined an invitation from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for its members to attend iftar, the breaking of the fast during Ramadan. As the holy month draws to a close, Turkey's presidential candidates have mobilized to attract different groups to their iftars.

The prime minister and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) were already known for their lavish, high-end iftars, and the election campaign has only intensified dinner traffic. Every evening, the media carry reports of Erdogan addressing pre- and post-iftar gatherings, turning them into live events for the country to follow on multiple TV channels. Crowds are encouraged to cheer for Erdogan during the live broadcasts as he passionately campaigns. In the first days of Ramadan, a photo of Erdogan was shared on social media asking, “Are you ready? He is fasting and is even angrier.”

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